More women in boardrooms: How are FTSE-listed companies faring?

Jessica Morris
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More women than ever before are rising to to the top of FTSE-listed companies but there's still a lot to be done.

A report by executive recruiters Norman Broadbent has found that companies are making good progress towards increasing female participation on their boards. This is line with recommendations from Lord Davies of Abersoch's report three years ago that said 25 per cent of FTSE 100 boards should be female by 2015.

However, look across the wider market and the figures are not as great. Women remain significantly under-represented on the boards of Aim-listed companies. Over the past three years, just 6.6 per cent of new non-executive directors were women, compared to around 25 per cent overall.

The looked at the gender, age and tenure of executive and non-executive directors within the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, small cap, fledgling and AIM markets.

So how did they all stack up?

Executive directors

Despite Aim's poor performance when it comes to women on boards, it was FTSE 100 and Aim-listed companies that made the biggest gains in female executive directors over the last four years. They may be at opposite ends of the market, but the numbers jumped two per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.

Non-executive directors:

Over a third of non-executive directors appointed during the past three years have been women, pushing the percentage of female non-executive directors up to 27 per cent. FTSE 350-listed companies also fared well, with women accounting for 34 per cent of all non-executive director appointments.

But while there were almost 650 non-executive directors appointed to Aim-listed companies between July 2013 and July 2014, only 47 were women. This is because smaller companies often use their own networks or those of their advisors to recruit for these kind of roles, the report said.

The report made three recommendations for increasing board diversity. These included identifying additional skills and qualities that a board needs, broadening networks to find candidates from a more diverse range of backgrounds and 'aiming high' to find the best possible fit.

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